• BAIER: So Wednesday is we have to do it, but Thursday is maybe a trigger will work, but it will lead to a public option.

    KRAUTHAMMER: It a perfect example of the incoherence on the Democrats on all of this. And she is reflecting the president's incoherence.

    On the one hand, here we are eight months into this administration, three months into a really active, vigorous debate on health care, and two days before the president's great speech, nobody has any idea what's in it, and even he problem hi doesn't. So, on the one hand he's saying we're in a crisis and we have to act and it has to be done by last August, and then he doesn't even know as of today what it is, and he's asking immediate action on something that he doesn't even know about. That's number one.

    But secondly, underlying all this is unease about his intentions. Obama is a man who believes in the government-run system. He has said that several years ago. He has now disavowed it. Bt clearly people understand that the public option is a way to achieve ultimately a government-run system.

    BAIER: A single payer system.

    KRAUTHAMMER: A single payer system, but he can't admit it, because in America it is not going to happen. He himself has said that tactically you can't be in favor of a single-payer system.

    He also says he will never talk about rationing. But he has said it in public and he has said it in interviews and he says it in private, troubles about the hip replacement his grandmother had when she was very sick and ill and terminal. He clearly thinks about rationing. He thinks it's important, but, again, he can't say it. So in his heart of hearts, he believes in a national system and he believes in rationing, but he has to deny it, and that's why people worry about incoherence and disingenuousness.

    BAIER: Fred?

    BARNES: The White House says what they need to do is reframe the debate over health care. They're going to have better arguments for it, and so on.

    But the problem is not the debate. The problem is the bill. There's enough known about the bill — I mean, there are different bills that have passed, so it's unclear. Charles is right about the real specifics. But we know in the House, the bill has passed the three House committees that there is the public option in it and there are a lot of other things that the public doesn't like and they don't trust.

    Poll after poll shows the same thing. They think it's going to cost them more, their insurance, it's — they'll wind up with worse care, it will cause taxes to go up, it will increase the deficit at the same time. So they have thought all that.

    He has got to come up with a new bill if he wants to get one passed, one completely different. And what he talked about today in Cincinnati in talking about health care sounded like — it is not even new arguments, and it's the same old bill.

    That bill is the problem. His arguments haven't been good either, but mainly because the bill is bad.

    BAIER: Should we expect something surprising Wednesday night, Mort?

    KONDRACKE: What I expect — he's got — this is the highest stake speech of his presidency, I think. This is the equivalent of the post Jeremiah Wright speech during the campaign. If he doesn't regain the initiative here and he loses health care, which is his signature issue with an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress, his presidency is headed for failure.

    It's not necessarily terminal, because after all, Bill Clinton survived this kind of thing, but it is a very bad sign for him. So it's a big speech.

    KRAUTHAMMER: The surprise on Wednesday will be if he achieves coherence.

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